Kurt and Blaine are rival figure skaters competing for the Olympic gold medal.
~ 8,200 words
A few quick notes: this takes place during the 2014 games, which will be in Sochi, Russia. I kept their canonical ages, so they are roughly 20-21 years old. I do not ice skate and my knowledge of figure skating is basically everything I could find on Wikipedia or remember from the Vancouver games. As for how the Olympic Village works, the only things I knew came from that one time I visited the one in my city, but it was for summer games and dated from 1976, so, y’know.
Let’s pretend I didn’t screw up the details too much, okay?
This is for Amy and Adri, who helped me elaborate the idea and pick the songs, as well as for all of my fruits for dealing with our flailing in the chatroom while they were trying to keep up a normal conversation.
And yes, the title is from We Are Golden by Mika. I went there.
Kurt narrows his eyes and tilts his head to the side in the hope that, perhaps, it will make him magically understand Russian. He’s been in Sochi - and it might actually be the end of the world for all he knows, he did not even know the Black Sea existed - for a week already and he has wandered around, but this is the first time he is completely and absolutely lost.
He must have taken a wrong turn on his way back to the Olympic Village because now he is in the middle of a very working-class neighbourhood, although for all he knows he just walked straight into a gulag and he will never see Ohio again because they will keep him for forced-labour because he’s a foreigner and he does not speak the language and he has, like Sebastian, the-Sore-Loser-Who-Wishes-He-Could-Skate-Half-As-Well-As-Kurt, is always glad to remind him, a serious case of the gay face. Didn’t Russia outlaw homosexuality a few years ago?
He has never feared for his life, not even back in highschool when things were bad and he had to walk out on the ice of the only arena in Lima after a hockey practice and keep his head high as the whole team sneered at him and walked around with limp wrists, spoke with forced lisps. He knew they would never touch him because their coach was on his side. Even when they shoulder-checked him into lockers or pushed his lunch tray out of his hands, he never feared for his life.
But now, as he wanders around a desolate street in what has to be the poorest neighbourhood he has ever seen, Kurt is afraid he’s going to get stabbed from behind and left for dead. It’s like a scene out of a movie or a bad joke about Soviet Russia, but there is nothing funny about it. He’s pretty sure there is a man who has been staring at him from the window of his second-floor apartment for the past ten minutes. He can feel the long-term effects of vodka addiction around him, and there is this characteristic smell of poverty floating in the air.
Long story short: Kurt should not be where he is right now. His coach would have very colorful things to say to him if she knew where he is. That is, if she gets to him before Quinn murders him for disappearing for so long when she is having daily panic attacks caused by her self-diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder.
(Another long story short: the last time they skated for a serious competition together, she miscarried right after.)
(It was not Kurt’s. This is something he really needs to insist on.)
And then, just as Kurt is about to find a piece of paper and a pen to write his will because there is no way he is going back to Ohio in anything but a coffin, he sees him.
Blaine Anderson. World champion in single turned star of the American Olympic team when he decided to team up with his girlfriend (Rachel Berry, placed third at the World Figure Skating Championships and ruin Kurt’s life. Pair skating is his strength and he and Quinn had pretty much already won the medal before Anderson and his Lilliputian of a girlfriend gave up on single to compete in pair.
That’s without mentioning how ridiculously attractive Anderson is, with his eyes and his smile and his thighs and his ass. He is ruining Kurt’s life except for that fact that he might have just saved it.
“Kurt Hummel?” he asks, all broad smile and squinty eyes and Kurt’s heart skips a beat, but it’s not because of Blaine. No, not at all. It’s because someone slammed a door shut in the distance and it sounded like a gunshot. Unless it was an actual gunshot. He does not really want to know.
“That’s my name,” Kurt replies, shifting his attention back to the sign which he really wishes he could read. It looks like it would answer a lot of his questions. “And you are—”
“Blaine Anderson,” he replies, his smile widening - how is that even possible - as he offers his hand for Kurt to shake it. “I’d been wanting to introduce myself for a really long time, but I never expected to do it in what could be the set for a sequel to Borat.”
“Borat was set in Kazakhstan. This is Russia. Do you know how to get back to the Village?”
“Absolutely. Were you lost?” Blaine smirks and Kurt huffs, and an old lady shouts something in Russian.
“What do you think?” Kurt snaps before walking away from Blaine, only to stop when he laughs.
“It’s the other way.” Blaine pats Kurt’s shoulder when he comes back to his side and Kurt rolls his eyes.
He shoves his hands deeper in his pockets, curling them into fists inside of his mittens. It’s no wonder no one could ever invade Russia, he is wearing hi-tech, government-funded winter apparel and he feels like his bones are covered in frost.
“So,” Kurt says to fill the silence as they walk through the city, the buildings surrounding them getting nicer with every step they take. “What were you doing in that dingy neighbourhood?”
Blaine shrugs and keeps his shoulders up, burying his face in his scarf until only his eyes are visible in between the thick white wool of his scarf and hat. “Let’s get in there,” he says, voice muffled, as he grabs Kurt’s arm and drags him inside a small teahouse.
The warmth indoors burns Kurt’s frozen skin and he shivers as he follows Blaine, sitting opposite him at a table near the back of the store. The seat is a plush upholstered armchair and when he sits down, the springs creak and give in under his weight. He lets out a yelp as he sinks right through the chair, his hands flailing to grip the armrests and pull himself out.
“Careful,” the waitress, a short girl with fiery red-hair, says in broken English when she walks to their table. “Chair is broken. Here is menu. You wave for me.”
Blaine smiles and thanks her through it and Kurt isn’t sure he understands how Blaine’s face works. He is pretty sure that if he tried to talk while smiling he’d end up looking like something out of a Dr. Seuss story.
“You never answered me,” Kurt says once he has managed to tame his armchair and found a way to sit in it without being swallowed whole. “Why were you walking back there on your own?”
Blaine shrugs with one shoulder and gives a small half-smile and if Kurt didn’t know better, he would say Blaine almost looks bashful. “I wanted to visit the city, we’re only here for so long.” Kurt raises his eyebrows in disbelief. He heard the Golden Couple of Figure Skating fighting the day before, he knows Blaine is lying to protect Rachel and avoid saying she’s a pain in the ass on good days.
“No one would blame you for wanting to get away from your girlfriend for a while, you know. You don’t have to lie.”
“I’m not—Rachel is—” He sighs and pulls the menu up to hide his face. “Why were you there yourself?”
“Quinn is crazy and I needed to get away before I murdered her with my skates.” Kurt quirks his eyebrow when Blaine peaks at him over the menu. “Don’t laugh. I’m not even exaggerating. She’s sure she has PTSD.”
“Oh, yeah. I heard what happened at the World Championships. I’m sorry.”
“Yes, well. I told her to stay away from the hockey players we share our mediocre arena with, but she did not listen.”
“I thought—oh. Nevermind.” Blaine is blushing when Kurt looks away from the menu - which is, by the way, entirely in Russian.
“I thought—well, no one is sure, but—it wasn’t yours?”
Kurt narrows his eyes for a the second it takes for Blaine’s question to make sense. “Oh my god, no. I never—Quinn and I are not dating, I’m gay, I don’t—”
“Right, right. Sorry. You know how rumours are, they rarely make sense, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you. Sorry.”
“No, no, it’s fine, it’s okay, rumours are stupid, I can’t believe—” Rumour has it that you are gay, Blaine Anderson, and that Rachel Berry is the big gay beard that you keep so you don’t become a walking stereotype like I am. “Is this thing entirely in Russian, or is it just me?”
Blaine laughs and nods, lowering his menu. “It is. I’ll have—” he lays the plastified page on the table and hovers his hand over it, stopping abruptly and pointing at one of the items on it. “—this one. Your turn.”
Kurt rolls his eyes, but mirrors Blaine’s action, and minutes later they have called the waitress over and placed their orders with a lot of pointing and misunderstanding. Kurt is pretty sure he will not get what he asked for, no matter what it was.
As they chat over the warm cup of ‘mysterious herbs infused in water,’ as Blaine puts it, Kurt adds one more thing to his list of ways in which Blaine Anderson is ruining his life: he is too easy to be around. It’s unnerving and very inconvenient. The last thing Kurt needs is a crush on the straight-until-proven-gay competition a week before they have to skate for the gold medal.
Their backgrounds are pretty similar: both boys were taught to skate by fathers hoping for hockey players, but left on their own they began putting up choreography on the small ice rinks the enthusiastic fathers had spent an afternoon making using the garden hose.The fathers grudgingly abandoned the hockey dream and pushed their sons towards what they liked and now they’re on the Olympic team and the word-of-mouth has it that only the other can give them a run for their money.
Blaine is all smiles and bashful laughs, squirming in his chair every time Kurt cracks jokes at his expense and hiding behind a fourth cup of tea when Kurt looks for too long. Their knees bump under the small table and their boots keep hitting the other in the shin and it only makes them giggle, blush, and look away.
“So,” Kurt asks when the lull in their conversation stretches for a bit too long. “How long have you been with Rachel?” He talks about his partner, but perhaps he’s old-fashioned and doesn’t like the word girlfriend.
“I’m not—” he stops and clears his throat, shifting in his seat. “We’ve been skating together for two years, now.”
“No, I mean, how long have you been with her?”
Blaine blinks, his lips slightly parted. “Well, we met in high school and she’s been a really big part of my life ever since.”
This really does not answer Kurt’s question and he is honestly two seconds away from plainly asking Blaine if he’s dating his partner. Except that, well, asking Blaine would make his intentions pretty clear and it’s too early for this. Kurt doesn’t want to be the creepy, over-insistent kind of guy and god knows he doesn’t want Blaine to think all he wants is sleep with him while they’re here. And yes, okay, this is what everyone does anyway, he’s heard the tales, but that’s not what he wants, even if Blaine is really hot from up close.
The sun is down when they leave the teahouse and there is a fine layer of ice covering the pavement, making everything glisten under the streetlamps and the moon. Kurt slips as they turn a corner and he grabs onto Blaine’s arm, hiding his face in his scarf as soon as he’s steady again because he knows what’s coming.
“That was very smooth for an Olympic-level figure skater. I’m impressed,” Blaine says in a straight voice. He laughs seconds after.
“Oh, shut up.”
Kurt’s hand lingers on Blaine’s arm and neither of them mentions it. If asked, Kurt would say it’s to make sure they don’t fall on the ice and injure themselves, but he isn’t sure how true it is. Blaine does not seem to mind. The way he’s smiling up at Kurt is confusing and makes his heart skip beats.
The Olympic Village eventually appears ahead of them and its reassuring lights and multilingual signs make Kurt feel safe for the first time in hours. He lets go of Blaine’s arm when their boots hit salted pavement and they walk in silence towards the living areas. Kurt reaches his complex before Blaine and he stops at the door, jumping from foot to foot to try and warm up.
“This is me,” he says, uselessly pointing at the door behind him. “Thank you for saving me earlier.”
“Of course. I’d rather win by beating you than because you had to forfeit.”
Kurt mock-gasps and then glares at Blaine, shaking his head. “I thought we were having a moment, Anderson. You ruined it.”
Blaine’s eyes widened briefly and he buries his face in his scarf. “Was it a nice moment?”
“Until you ruined it, yes.”
Laughter bubbles out of Blaine and dies as soon as it came when he takes a step forward at the same time as Kurt. Kurt can see the way Blaine’s eyelashes fan out on his cheeks every time he blinks and as he looks up at Kurt, his eyes glow green and golden in the light of the streetlamp. Kurt swallows and exhales slowly, feeling Blaine’s breath on his face when he does the same. Blaine’s eyes flick down to his lips and Kurt feels a shiver run through him.
The fog from their breath obscures Kurt’s view of Blaine’s face, but as he leans in for what he hopes will be a reciprocated kiss, Blaine steps back and slips on a patch of black ice, letting out a yelp before landing on his ass. All the horror and feeling of rejection Kurt might have felt after Blaine moved back dies down as he watches him struggle to get back on his feet on the icy ground.
“Are you going to help me?” Blaine asks pitifully after he fell once more.
Despite his words Kurt holds out his hands for Blaine. He grips them, their mittens slipping, but their fingers locking tight through the fabric. Kurt hauls him back up and avoids falling by purposely stepping in a snowbank, his feet breaking the ice crust and sinking in, anchoring him up until Blaine can hold his own weight.
“Goodnight, Kurt.” He leans in and plants a kiss to Kurt’s cheek before walking away, leaving Kurt stunned and confused on the doorstep.
Blaine is straight, then. Maybe he’s not dating Rachel, but clearly the signals Kurt sent him were unrequited. Blaine let him get close enough to kiss because he wanted to be polite, but as it got too serious he stepped back. This is what happens. The kiss on the cheek was only so he didn’t let Kurt down too harshly.
That night, he resolutely does not think about Blaine’s hands in his or his lips on his cheek as he tries to fall asleep. It would be torturing himself for no reason, if he did.
People were right about Kurt Hummel. Well, no. The ones praising him were right. The others are probably only jealous of how ridiculously perfect he is, how is it even possible that a person like Kurt Hummel exists in the same universe as the people who have the nerves to insult him? The things said behind Kurt’s back are ugly and make Blaine’s skin crawl, and he hates to admit it, but they contribute to the fact that he never tried to tell people that he is not actually dating Rachel.
This only contribute to make him more stressed than he already is. Rachel is slowly driving him up the wall. Her controlling ways are enough to make Blaine feel like going back to single skating so he can get away from her at the best of times, but the stress of competing at the Olympic level is making her bad enough that he has to physically hide from her. That is, incidentally, how he met Kurt. And how he realized that the creepy crush he’s had on him since the first time he saw him perform was probably going to turn into full-on love soon.
It probably already had.
There is an outdoors skating rink in the Olympic Village and Blaine has always wanted to visit it, but the cold had kept him away. Rachel invading his apartment and lecturing him on what he made himself for dinner convinced him that it was time to go see that rink. The path leading to it is lit by fairy lights hung on trees and Blaine’s smiles. It might be January, but the entire city has a Christmas vibe to it that make him feel like he is eight years old and he heard Santa’s bells downstairs.
A voice reaches his ears as he nears the rink, the need to escape Rachel reaching catastrophic levels, probably even more so than the day before when he wandered in the bad part of the city. It looks deserted, though, but there has to be someone. Someone who is singing. His knee-jerk reaction is to run away in case it’s Rachel, but he knows he left her in his apartment to empty the cupboards and fill them with cardboard disguised as food.
It’s Kurt. He’s running through a choreography, his movements swift and short like he’s only marking the steps, and all the while he’s singing. And boy, can he sing. Blaine is rooted on the spot, standing at the edge of the snowy path and the ice, his skates hanging forgotten from his hand and he cannot move, not when Kurt is belting Being Alive of all songs.
They’ve spent time together since the teahouse afternoon. The next day, the figure skating team was taken out to a real Russian restaurant to taste the specialty of the country and Blaine laughed until he couldn’t breathe as Kurt stared in quiet horror at his bowl of borscht, turning to Blaine to mouth ‘it’s pink’ while their guide happily dumped a spoon of sour cream in the bowl before shoving a perogy in his mouth.
They were taken out to play bowling after that, but Kurt had gone back to his apartment with the excuse that he had a rehearsal at seven the next morning. He left with a kiss to Blaine’s cheek and a shy smile. That little kiss was all it took for Blaine’s heart to leap out of his chest with joy.
Kurt gathers speed and launches in an axel, never missing a note or a beat from the song even as he lands. He’s been here for a while already, the song is almost over, and the flush on his face tells Blaine it might not be the first time he goes through it.
As he reaches the end of the song, his voice growing and taking on a richer tone, Kurt slows down and skates backwards until the last note, which he sings in a clear voice that echoes off the surrounding buildings. He lifts his arm as he drags it out and as he drops it, he lowers them and turns on the spot, his entire body tensing when he sees Blaine.
“Blaine?!” Blaine waves awkwardly as Kurt skates towards him, spraying snow on Blaine’s boots as he breaks in front of him. “How—how long have you been there?”
“Long enough,” Blaine replies and he finds that his voice comes out rough. He clears his throat and forces a smile on his face. “You’re a good singer,” he says. “How many more hidden talents do you have?”
“I can fix cars,” Kurt deadpans, holding Blaine’s eyes, almost daring him to comment on it.
“You’ll have to show me some day.”
“Maybe, yes.” Kurt ducks his head and nods at the skates Blaine forgot he brought along. “Put them on.”
Blaine looks around for a bench, eventually sitting in a nearby snowbank to put on his skates. He joins Kurt on the ice and skates in circles around him, getting nearer with each one until he’s standing in his personal space, close enough to see the crystals of ice forming in Kurt’s eyelashes.
“Okay, so there’s this jump you always do,” Kurt begins, skating away and putting several feet between them. “I don’t understand how you can get right into it after—”
“I can show you,” Blaine says, cutting in because he knows exactly what Kurt is talking about. He smiles and moves to the other side of the ice, rolling his shoulders back and stretching his legs quickly.
The next hour is spent trading tricks and advice, the two of them joking that it’s very unprofessional to help the competition.
“You know,” Blaine points out after watching Kurt do a triple axel. “It’s not really helping the competition. We’re skating for the same country.” He pauses as Kurt skates over to him. “We’re skating for the same state, even.”
“You’re from Ohio?” Kurt skates backwards away from Blaine and he follows.
“I am. I saw you skating when you were in high school. I was supposed to compete against you, but I sprained my knee a week before the event.”
“I remember that! It was the year I had the brilliant idea to bedazzle my entire ensemble and picked Like A Prayer. Such poor life choices,” Kurt adds with a chuckle, turning on the spot and gasping when Blaine mirrors him and moves closer.
“You were awesome.” Blaine would know, that was when his crush on Kurt appeared.
Kurt rolls his eyes. “I was a misguided sixteen year-old who thought that shocking was the key to the first place. I was obviously very wrong.” He sighs. “I should get back. Quinn wants us to rehearse early tomorrow morning.”
Blaine licks his lips and moves even closer. Kurt does, too, his breath hitching. “I’ll see you around, then,” Blaine whispers.
“I guess you will,” Kurt replies, his breath ghosting over Blaine’s lips and raising goosebump on the back of his neck. Kurt’s eyes flick down to Blaine’s lips and Blaine inhales sharply, bracing himself for a kiss that never comes.
Instead, Kurt moves back and away, graceful until he reaches the edge of the ice and has to walk by digging his blades in the snow. Blaine watches him go, his shoulders sagging as slowly makes his way back to his apartment. Hopefully, Rachel will have left and he’ll be able to go to bed without another argument.
He hasn’t seen Blaine since the evening they skated together and it’s very inconvenient. He does not need to be confused and bothered on the day of his short program. Not when Quinn is pacing back and forth and whispering that she is going to throw up, she cannot do this, why did she think she could do this?
Kurt lets Sue deal with her and walks to the mirror to fix his hair for the hundredth time. They are not scheduled to go on the ice for another half hour, but he wants to go out and watch the Berry-Anderson number everyone has been whispering about. Apparently, one of the Slovakian couples saw them rehearse and told the Belarus skaters that the competition was already over. And yes, fine, he also hopes to catch Blaine before he goes out to maybe get answers to some of his questions. Maybe.
“Where are you going?” Sue snaps when Kurt heads for the door.
“I’m going to assess the competition. Send Quinn when it’s our turn and make sure that if she needs to throw up she does it before we get on the ice.” The memories of their rehearsal before they took the qualification tests to join the Olympic team will never leave him.
“He’s going to flirt with Anderson, yeah,” Quinn mutters and he chooses to ignore her. It’s the nerves that are speaking. The rest of the year she would be supportive of him and might even try to set them up, but for the moment she is one ball of crippling nervosity and getting angry won’t fix anything.
Kurt threads his way through the crowded hallways towards the ice and tries to stay hidden from view as he looks for a good vantage point. Blaine and Rachel are up next and he can see them talking with their heads close to each other, their coach standing by their side and rubbing their backs. The conversation looks animated and Kurt tries to move closer to hear what they’re saying, but before he can get within earshot the announcers start presenting them and they’re moving towards the ice, every trace of emotions gone from their faces.
People joke about Rachel Berry’s face right before she gets on the ice. They say it’s her ‘let’s murder some children’ face. She’s full of intent and her entire body seems to thrum with energy waiting to be released the second the song begins. This time, as they skate to the center of the ice, she catches Kurt’s eyes and smiles a terrifying smile, her eyes widening until she looks manic. She tugs on Blaine’s sleeve and nods her head towards Kurt, who waves. Blaine beams and waves back before being pushed to the center by Rachel.
The only thing he can do when the song begins is roll his eyes. He should have seen it coming. Rachel dressed in white, Blaine dressed in black; it was either a wedding song - too cliché, especially if they’re not really dating - or, knowing Rachel’s love for Broadway, something out of Wicked.
The opening bars of Popular fill the stadium and Kurt shakes his head at the way Rachel nearly bounces on the spot. His amusement dies out when they begin skating and Kurt finally understands why everyone keeps saying the competition is over.
They move as though they are two parts of the same entity, connected to the same center and communicating what their next movement will be without the need for words. He has seen them skate before, sure, but this is different. This is a gold medal performance. And, typical of Rachel, as they get near to where Kurt is sitting to gather speed for a jump, he hears her singing along to the instrumental version of the song, the words ‘I’ll teach you the proper poise, how to talk to boys’ seemingly directed straight at him. She jerks her head towards Blaine and winks, and it’s silly, but Kurt thinks he understands the message. Or at least, he hopes that what he understood is what was to be understood. If that makes sense. And god does he hope it means Blaine is actually gay.
They leave the ice under a thunder of applause and Kurt makes his way to them, catching Blaine’s eyes and giving him a thumb-up as the pair is swallowed by television cameras and journalists. It looks like he won’t be able to talk to Blaine until the day is over and it makes him sadder than it should.
He has no time to worry about this, though, because soon he’s going to be out on the ice and he needs get in the right state of mind. The short program is not their strength and Quinn will continue to be nervous until she has done at least one competition number.
Speaking of Quinn, she’s making her way to him, smile shaky but present for the first time in days. Kurt hugs her and presses a kiss to her temple, carefully avoiding the parts of her skin that are covered in glitter spray.
“Are you okay?” he asks, keeping his arms around her shoulders and rubbing up and down her arm. He knows how cold she gets in her costumes.
“I will be after we’ve done this. But I know I can do this. I’m Quinn Fabray, world champion, and it’s not my nerves that will ruin the greatest moment of my career.” With every word her composure changes, her back straightening and her shoulders squaring until she’s back to the woman Kurt was scared to meet a few years ago when Sue said she had found him a partner.
Before he knows it, Kurt is standing on the ice, holding Quinn’s hand and emptying his mind of anything that doesn’t relate to this moment right now. The music starts - Comptine d’un autre été from the movie Amélie - and Kurt’s whole world narrows down to the feeling of the ice under his skates and Quinn’s body. Nothing matters but the next movement and the timing that needs to be perfect so the lift works, and if he notices Blaine watching out of the corner of his eye he cannot let himself think about it, it has to flash through his mind at the edge of his perception otherwise he will drop Quinn and ruin everything.
It’s over before he knows it, the applause bringing him back to reality. They take their bows and then skate away, Sue and Brittany pulling them into hugs as soon as they are off the ice. Well, Brittany does. Sue claps Kurt’s back roughly and ushers them to their designated area.
“You’ve never made my choreography more beautiful,” Brittany says as she smothers Kurt in her arms, awkwardly walking sideways to keep hugging him as they move. “Thank you. I think you just won, you were much better than anyone else.”
“No, they weren’t. And there’s still the long program to worry about.”
The two women start bickering, but Kurt tunes them out. He lets Quinn hold him close as they wait for the results to be announced. Kurt’s heart stops as their marks are given out, only to start beating again when he sees they placed fourth. It’s salvageable. Their free program is the strongest one they ever prepared. For the first time, Kurt allows himself the thought that they might leave Russia with an Olympic medal, after all.
He somehow ends up spending the evening with Quinn, Blaine and Rachel, the four of them celebrating their results - Blaine and Rachel placed first - with non-alcoholic cider and crackers. They put on a movie that has nothing to do with figure skating and Blaine sits close enough for his thigh to brush Kurt’s as they share a couch.
Kurt has no idea if she’s doing it on purpose or not, but Rachel mentions her Boyfriend Who Is In Ohio a hundred times over the evening, shooting meaningful glances at Blaine every time. It’s only when she proposes a toast to ‘amazing, gay skating partners’ that Kurt understands what she’d been doing the whole time. He looks at Blaine, who’s purposely avoiding his eyes, and smiles to himself.
They part with yet another kiss on the cheek, Kurt’s hand brushing down from Blaine’s shoulder to his elbow as he steps back. He ducks his head and looks at Blaine through his eyelashes, biting his lip when Blaine blushes and rubs the back of his neck.
This changes everything.
The long program. The moment when things get real and everything is at stakes. Rachel is a nervous wreck, all of her anxiety surfacing two minutes before they have to get on the ice.
“What if I mess up? You know how long it took me to get that step right, what if I blow it and we lose because of me?”
And Blaine hates to admit it, but he shares her anxieties. He might be sure that they will win, but that’s only if neither of them screws up, which is not guaranteed at all. Their number is complicated, the hardest one they’ve ever had to do, and one misstep could mean the end of their careers.
To make matters worse, Rachel and her loudmouth had to go and make sure Kurt knew Blaine is gay so now Blaine has to live with the stress that Kurt might think he is not interested since he still hasn’t made a move. There’s only so much kisses on the cheek can do before the message behind them is misunderstood. It’s not, ‘let’s just be friends’ that he means by them. It’s, ‘I am terrified that you will reject me, please help.’
“I’m going to take a walk,” Blaine tells Rachel before walking out on her. He’s going stir-crazy waiting for their time to go on the ice and replaying every interaction he’s ever had with Kurt to try and see which signals he sent him and just how much he screwed up by not making a move earlier.
There are all the times - it happened twice, but, y’know - they almost kissed . He knows he moved back because he panicked, because it would have been the first time he kisses a man and it just so happened to be the one guy he’s had a crush on for the past five years. Why Kurt did it, though, he has no clue. Maybe because he did it, first. Maybe Kurt thinks it’s unrequited. Or, well, he hopes that’s what Kurt used to think before he found out thanks to Rachel that Blaine is gay. Now he must think that Blaine is just not interested and that could not be more wrong.
He gets to the ice just as Kurt and Quinn are getting ready to get on, which takes him by surprise. They were not supposed to be on for another ten minutes, this makes no sense. As he gets nearer, he overhears a conversation explaining that one of the German pair had to forfeit because of food poisoning, which bumped Kurt and Quinn to the third place. Blaine feels a pang of regret that he wasn’t there with Kurt when he found out. His reaction would have been great to see.
Blaine hurries to find a good place to watch them from as their music begins, smiling at a Swedish skater when he settles next to her. He’s still smiling as he turns his attention to Kurt and Quinn, but it fades quickly as he watches them.
Le Jazz Hot is blaring from the speakers and it looks like the pair is breathing the music. There were some flaws during their short program, but this is literally perfect. They are in sync in a way Blaine and Rachel have to work hard to reach and they make it look as easy as walking. And, yes, from a completely shallow perspective, Kurt is ridiculously hot with his costume clinging to his body and his muscles shifting underneath the fabric as he jumps or lifts Quinn. And Quinn, well, she was not world champion in single for nothing, she is dazzling and mesmerizing to watch, engaging with the audience with smiles and glances without ever missing a step.
The applause when they stop is deafening and Blaine joins in, beaming when Kurt looks his way. It might be the light, but it looks like Kurt is blushing as he leaves the ice, only to be surrounded by news people for interviews.
It’s better if Blaine does not tell how good Kurt and Quinn were. Their performance makes him seriously doubt their victory for the first time since they got to Sicho and surprisingly, he finds that he does not care that much. Placing second after Kurt would still feel like a victory. Perhaps it has a lot to do with the fact that knowing how happy winning would make Kurt. There might be something wrong with Blaine.
He has no time to worry about this because Rachel is making her way towards him, carrying their skates and looking mildly pissed off. The entire time they have left before their performance is spent trying to calm her down, no Rachel, he didn’t run away from her, it has nothing to do with her, she needs to focus on what’s to come and try to calm down, everything will be fine.
Kurt catches up with him soon after. He’s all smiles and giddy energy as he reaches Blaine and he pulls him into a hug, bouncing a little on his feet. The news that they placed first was announced over the speakers a few minutes before and Kurt looks like he might spontaneously combust with happiness.
“You were incredible, Kurt. Seriously. It took my breath away. We don’t stand a chance against you now that you placed first,” Blaine tells Kurt when he lets go.
Kurt rolls his eyes. “Don’t be stupid. You’re still better than us. It’s nice to be first for a while, though. I’ll savour the feeling while it lasts.”
“We’ll see about that.” There is a knot in Blaine’s stomach and he has to force himself to take deep breath, thinking back to the stress management lessons he took when he became a professional athlete. “Wish me luck?”
“You don’t need it, but if you insist. Break a leg, Blaine.”
Kurt leans in and presses a kiss to his cheek before walking away, giving the pair enough time to mentally prepare for the performance. Rachel hugs him and they repeat their usual speech, promising each other that the result does not matter, what’s important is that they enjoy skating together and have fun. He doubts Rachel believes in it, but it’s a tradition and he’s superstitious enough to keep doing it even if the words are hollow.
He catches Kurt’s smile as he steps on the ice and returns it before clearing his mind. The opening bars of Dancing Through Life begin and he takes a deep breath.
“Let’s win the gold,” he tells Rachel and she nods.
Kurt has to concentrate on not tripping up the stairs to the podium. This is all he’s allowed to think about. This is safe. Climbing stairs won’t make him cry. He is not going to cry, it would be stupid to cry.
One step, and then another one, and then he’s standing on the podium, clutching Quinn’s hand and looking around at everyone applauding him. An elderly member of the Olympic committee walks on the carpet they set up on the ice for the medal ceremony and stops in front of him and Quinn, smiling up at them before reaching for a gold medal and lifting his arms. Kurt bends forward and lets the man slip it around his neck, taking the flowers he is offered before straightening up. The medal is heavy around his neck and he picks it up, laying it flat in his palm and looking at the design on it. The gold shines under the bright lights of the arena and he presses his lips tightly so he does not cry.
They won the gold medal. Rachel and Blaine placed second, right under Kurt and Quinn. Because they placed first. They won. Kurt is an Olympic gold medalist. It’s going to take a few days to sink in.
The national anthem is announced on the speakers and Kurt machinally places his hand over his heart, mouthing the lyrics without really thinking about them. Cameras flash everywhere and he tries to offer his best profile although everything feels surreal and like he might wake up any moment.
The music ends and then Quinn is hugging him, pecking his cheek before she turns around to hug the pair who placed third. Kurt has no idea which country they come from, he isn’t even sure of his name right now.
Blaine is hugging him, then, whispering congratulations in his ear and Kurt returns the hug automatically, closing his eyes into it. The angle is awkward and puts a strain on Kurt’s back, but this, at least, he can understand and deal with. It’s a lot less overwhelming than winning a gold medal. It’s easier to wrap his mind around.
Except that Blaine is pulling away and cupping his jaw, his eyes asking a question for a second before he leans in and kisses Kurt. Kurt inhales sharply and grips Blaine’s shoulders tightly as flashes explode all around them. He hopes, in a fleeting thought, that his surprise didn’t make him look too bad for the photos which are sure to circle the globe before he leaves the arena. With that in mind, he kisses Blaine back, pressing forward and sucking on his top lip. Blaine pulls back and smiles shyly with a shrug.
The arena is silent for a beat before it explodes into applause and cheers, with catcalls and wolf-whistles ringing loud and clear through the overall chaos of noise. The medalists are escorted off the ice and back to their changing rooms. The interviews will come tomorrow. They will surely be interesting.
It’s only when the room to his apartment is shut that Kurt lets out a shaky breath and lets himself think about what happened. The gold medal’s ribbon is chaffing the back of his neck and he gingerly takes it off, placing it on the coffee table and taking a step back to watch the effect of the the soft glow of the lamps on its surface.
Blaine kissed him. It means Blaine likes him. And he won a gold medal. He had his first kiss on national television. While wearing a gold medal. Which he won by beating Blaine, the man who kissed him. Who likes him enough to kiss him and blow the cover he’d been keeping for years.
He needs to call his father.
As he searches for his computer, there is a knock at the door. His stomach somersaults and he nervously fixes his hair on his way to open it. Blaine is standing in the doorway, smiling shyly.
“Can I come in?”
Kurt lets him in and leads him to the small living room, sitting on the couch and motioning for Blaine to join him. They sit in silence for a while and it’s stupid because they kissed in front of the entire planet, surely they can find something to talk about.
“So. You kissed me,” Kurt says to break the ice when he cannot stand the silence anymore.
“One day, we will have to talk about the implications of what you did.”
“We could now if you want to.”
“No. Now you should kiss me again. I just won a gold medal and got myself a boyfriend. I don’t want to think about anything.”
“Boyfriend?” Blaine asks, his voice adorably shy.
Right. He jumped to conclusions. Good job, Hummel. “Can we be boyfriends?” he asks Blaine, linking their fingers and staring at them while he waits for an answer.
Blaine’s lips are on his as soon as he stops talking, his fingers threading in the hair at the back of Kurt’s head and his entire body leaning into Kurt’s. Kurt wraps his arms around Blaine’s back and pulls him closer, letting out a surprised noise when Blaine’s tongue brushes his lips.
They end up with Blaine lying on top of Kurt, kissing slow and lazy as the fatigue of two days of competition sinks into their bodies. Blaine is rubbing his thumb back and forth on Kurt’s cheek as he kisses him and this single touch is what tips him over and draws a whimper from the back of his throat. Blaine smiles and sucks Kurt’s bottom lip between his own. He pulls away and tugs on it, his tongue flicking on it before letting go.
“I should be really angry about what you did,” Kurt says, looking up at Blaine and stroking his cheek.
“But you’re not?” Blaine frowns and pout. Kurt’s heart tightens and he brushes his thumb on Blaine’s bottom lip until his face relaxes. “I only did it because I like you.”
Kurt shrugs. “I might be tomorrow, once it all starts making sense. It still feels so unreal.”
“Try not to hate me too much when you see us all over the news.” Blaine’s pout is back and Kurt cards his fingers through his hair, tugging the curls free from the gel.
“I’ll try. Now kiss me.”
Blaine nods and dips down to kiss Kurt once more, chuckling when Kurt lets out a happy little noise.
He ends up spending the night, the two of them sleeping curled up and fully-clothed after embarrassed confessions that they’ve never done that and would rather take it slow. The next day is a nightmare of interviews and repetitive questions that all amount to wanting too many details about his personal life (which, okay, he put on display so he walked into that one, but they still have no right to want to know how many boyfriends he’s had before Blaine). He has to remind everyone several time that this is about the gold medal he won, not who he’s dating.
By the end of the day he’s exhausted and cranky so he walks past his apartment complex and heads for Blaine’s, pushing him up against a wall and kissing him as soon as he’s let in. It gets more heated that night, hands roam lower and inch under layers of clothes until it’s too much and they roll off each other and pick up their skates to go back to the outdoor rink.
It’s snowing when they get outside, big fluffy snowflakes that catch in their eyelashes. They warm up by skating around the rink for a while, holding hands and watching the snow fall all around, muffling the noises and making them feel alone in the world.
Just when Kurt is wondering if they’ve been outside long enough and whether it would be too needy to ask to go back inside to make out again, Blaine tugs on his mitten and skates away with it, laughing over Kurt’s protests. Kurt chases him around the rink and when he eventually catches him, the speed at which he collides into him makes them fall into a nearby snowbank. Kurt leans down and kisses the tip of Blaine’s nose, then his lips, before prying his mitten out of his hand and getting up. They go back inside, after this, and they curl up together in Blaine’s bed to watch a movie on his laptop, sipping hot chocolate and sharing a blanket.
The next time to get they skate together is during the closing ceremony for the skating competitions. It’s just one big excuse to get them all in the same place at the same time and give them good pictures to keep for posterity, but Kurt is looking forward to one more moment under the limelight. He likes the attention. Sue him.
Kurt and Quinn have to go first and they don’t have any choreography planned so they just skate to whatever song is playing, some inane pop hits Kurt really does not care about. They repeat some of the steps that won them their medal, grinning to each other as the crowd applauds enthusiastically. The song changes as the other couples come out, bringing on a new wave of applause.
As the third song begins, Blaine leaves Rachel and heads for Kurt and Quinn. Kurt bites his lip and pretends he didn’t notice him until the very last second and then feigns surprise as Blaine takes his hands and pulls him along. He skates backwards and keeps smiling at Kurt as they move around the ice.
Kurt is trying to get the hang of the rhythm of the song so he can maybe try a step or two with Blaine, but before he can do it Blaine surprises him by pulling him closer, placing a hand on the small of his back and nudging Kurt’s arm up and around his shoulder. Their hands clasp and then Blaine is leading them into a waltz. It’s the last thing Kurt ever expected to do on a Scissor Sisters song and he throws his head back to laugh.
There are probably people in the crowd who would want nothing but to corner and kill them for what they are doing, but as a whole the reaction seems to be overwhelmingly positive. Kurt gets out of Blaine’s arms and takes the lead, spinning him before dipping him down. He grins when Blaine lets out a surprised yelp and nearly loses his footing. The urge to kiss Blaine is tugging at Kurt’s nerves, but, well, he’s not Blaine and PDAs make him uncomfortable. Dancing together will have to do, for now. They’ll kiss when they get back to the safety of one of their apartments.
If Kurt had known that getting lost in a foreign country would get him something as great as the boy who’s now trying and failing to lift him in front of cameras that will broadcast the footage all around the globe, well, Kurt would have done it way before.